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I'm Rooting For ...

June 7, 2012 - Phyllis Sigal
I am in a quandry.

My favorite vampires, in "True Blood," open a new season Sunday night, AND the Tony Awards will be televised live. And, to top that off, my husband wants to go to the Three Rivers Arts Festival to see Bruce Hornsby in concert.

It's really no problem to DVR my vampires, but the Tony Awards are live, so it's a show that needs to be seen as it is broadcast.

Well, those are my problems to solve. ... I just know I will avoid Facebook spoilers later that evening.

But about those Tony Awards ...

Last year in May, I was lucky enough to see "Jerusalem" on Broadway. The lead actor, Mark Rylance, was terrific, and just a couple of weeks after I saw the show, he won the Tony for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing "Venus and Fur" and "Clybourne Park," on Broadway. Both are nominated for best play.

Nina Arianda from "Venus and Fur" is nominated for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play. (She's up against Tracie Bennett, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin and Cynthia Nixon.)

If she doesn't win, I'll be amazed. I've never seen a performance like hers. I was spellbound for 90 minutes — 90 minutes! — of just Arianda and Hugh Dancy on the stage. Arianda flipped between her on-stage character and the role for which was auditioning in the play, so seamlessly — I can't even imagine how she did it. I was speechless for at least 10 minutes after walking out of the theater.

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, "Clybourne Park" is nominated for three Tony Awards, along with best play: Jeremy Shamos for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play; Pam MacKinnon for best direction of a play; and Daniel Ostlin for best scenic design of a play.

I just love having seen plays up for the Tony Awards, just as I like having seen some of the films up for the Oscars. It makes watching the awards shows so much more interesting if you have a vested interested.

I'm also rooting for "Leap of Faith," that was nominated for best musical, but unfortunately closed after just a few weeks. I have a real vested interested in that show: I wrote a story a few weeks ago about Michelle Duffy, a Wheeling native and graduate of Wheeling Park High School who was part of the ensemble cast. (

A musical number from "Leap of Faith" will be presented during Sunday's show, however, Michelle said it's a number she's not part of, unfortunately. I'm disappointed — I was looking forward to seeing her.

Also up for a slew of awards is "Follies," with another local connection. Ashley Yeater from Moundsville, and also a Wheeling Park grad, was part of the ensemble in that show while it played in Washington, D.C., and again during its limited run on Broadway.

It's nominated for eight awards including best revival of a musical; best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical (two, actually, one for Ron Raines and one for Danny Burstein); best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical; best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical; and best costume, best lighting and best sound design of a musical.

A musical number from "Folllies" also is part of Sunday's broadcast, but Ashley said she won't be performing. She did say that Tony-nominated Burstein will be performing "Buddies Blues," and she added, "We are all thrilled about all the nominations."

I wrote a couple of stories about Ashley a few years ago when she was in "The Producers" on Broadway and in the national tour of "Chicago," and met her years ago when she was a swimsuit model for my annual swimsuit page at The Times Leader.

So, let's hear it for Nina! Venus! Clybourne Park! Follies! And Leap of Faith!

I'll be watching ... one way or another.

I am looking for:

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